I have just signed a new contract with my shipping company which has set me up for the next three years. This included a huge pay rise, endless training opportunities, chances for promotion and personal development in my sea career. 2010 starts off with me back studying Mates/Masters for 10 months to gain my Chief Mates ticket. This is then followed up by a graduation and a week of celebrations! 2011 and 2012 has me working back for the company who is sponsoring me through school next year. 18 months sea time will need to be gained within 24 months before I can then sit my Masters Oral exam in the end of 2012. During this time the company will send me overseas to gain 6 months sea time elsewhere (hopefully a cargo ship). My dream has always been to gain my Masters ticket before I reach the age of 27 years old. As well as this I aim to pay off my first home mortgage by then. A lot to aim for but I am focused and determined that I will reach this by then. My new contract promises me a pay rise every year, a promotion to second mate and also opportunities to train younger cadets up in this industry. The work schedule is week on/week off with 4 weeks annual leave plus accrued leave on top of that. Working 12 hours shifts for 7 days is just bliss when you think of having 7 days off afterwards. I will be living back up in Auckland and flying to Wellington every second week to work. It’s a good thing that I love flying! So my new contract has been signed, with many thanks to my employment lawyer for all his help with the negotiations and benefits. I am now fully employed and on a regular pay roll. That mortgage may just be paid off after all.